Bioassessment and Biocriteria Program Status for U.S. Virgin Islands: Streams and Wadeable Rivers
State Program Contact
Department of Planning and Natural Resources Exit
Water Quality Standards
The link to U.S. Virgin Islands' WQS that are in effect for Clean Water Act purposes is provided. These are the WQS approved by EPA.
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Designated Aquatic Life Uses
Classes A, B, and C.
__X__ Narrative, with quantitative implementation procedures or translators
_____ No criteria
186-1. (b) Biocriteria:
The Territory shall preserve, protect, and restore water resources to their most natural condition. The condition of these waterbodies shall be determined from measures of physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of each waterbody class, according to its designated use. As a component of these measures, the Territory may consider the biological integrity of the benthic communities living within waters. These communities shall be assessed by comparison to reference conditions(s) with similar abiotic and biotic environmental settings that represent the optimal or least disturbed condition for that system. Such reference conditions shall be those observed to support the greatest community diversity, and abundance of aquatic life as is expected to be or has been historically found in natural settings essentially undisturbed or minimally disturbed by human impacts, development, or discharges. This condition shall be determined by consistent sampling and reliable measures of selected indicator communities of flora and/or fauna and may be used in conjunction with other measures of water quality. Waters shall be of a sufficient quality to support a resident biological community as defined by metrics based upon reference conditions. These narrative biological criteria shall apply to fresh water, wetlands, estuarine, mangrove, seagrass, coral reef and other marine ecosystems based upon their respective reference conditions and metrics.
Use of biocriteria or bioassessment not included in antidegradation policy.
What biological assemblages are used in the bioassessment program?
Benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, and coral reef
Are bioassessments used to support 303(d) listings?
How are assemblages used to make impairment decisions?
Other uses of biocriteria or bioassessment within the water quality program:
Technical Support Information and Documents:
Described in section 186-1 (b) biocriteria in water quality standards.
Development of biocriteria involves the collection and interpretation of biological data –e.g. benthic macroinvertebrates, fish, and periphyton. During this process entities typically use biological metrics (usually aggregated into a multimetric index) and/or multivariate analysis to assess whether a waterbody is meeting its designated aquatic life use(s). The reference materials included below include standard operation procedures used in data collection, compilation, technical approaches used to develop biocriteria as well as its implementation procedures.
Technical reference material:
Bradley P, Fore L, Fisher W, and Davis W. 2010. Coral Reef Biological Criteria: Using the Clean Water Act to Protect a National Treasure. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Narragansett, RI. EPA 600-R-10-054 July 2010.
Stressor identification/causal analysis approach: